Thursday, 30 January 2020

Amigurumi: Pokemon inspired Pokeball

My first crochet for this year 2020, I've made a Pokeball! Or two!!! I know, some of you might say, again??? LOL!!! Well, I had an order from a dear friend who supports local handmade market and she has commissioned me to make 2 Pokeballs with key ring! I'm so grateful for friends who truly appreciate handmade which is so rare!

This is an easy pattern which I've concocted. If you would like to learn to crochet this Pokeball, I do teach too. Just drop me an email or visit my Facebook page @NycNatNook for more deets.
Pattern: Susan Stitch Stuff
Thank you so much, Ai Jou, for your constant support!

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

MPOV: The Relic Spell (Book 1 of the Phyrian War Chronicles)

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 4.67/5
Published: December 17, 2019
Author: Jimena I. Novaro
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy Fiction

Magic rolls through Orion Tamura’s history classroom like a tidal wave of golden light that only he can see. The spell is deadly, and Orion has no idea who cast it or what they want.

Answers are scarce—all of Port Monica’s sorcerers vanished fourteen years before, including Orion’s father. Armed with his limited knowledge of magic, Orion is the only one left in the city who is strong enough to investigate the origins of the spell.

But the city’s leaders will stop at nothing to censor and sabotage anyone who gets close to the truth. Invisible otherworlders watch every move Orion and his friends make, and a mysterious sorcerer who knows the answers haunts Orion’s dreams.

The above taken from Goodreads.

Thanks to BookSirens for this e-ARC in return for my honest review.

This book definitely reminds me of The Sorcerer's Apprentice. I kept imagining Jay Baruchel as Orion LOL! Filled with lots of actions that I've lost the plot a few times! Honestly, I had to reread it many a times to grasp the terror which had definitely slowed down my reading progress.

A book about sorcerers and demons, Orion is a young sorcerer who has been catching demons with his friend, Max. He has been trained by his mother who is apparently quite ill. Both his father and Max's parents have disappeared 14 years ago including all of Port Monica's sorcerers without a trace leaving Orion the only sorcerer left to defend his city... well apparently not. With a deadly relic spell reenacted after 14 years and a new sorcerer in town, Orion has to find out the origin of the spell to try to stop it and also stop this new sorcerer!

I truly applaud Jimena for having written this so well! It's action-packed with loads of fighting scenes and yet she could translate it onto paper neatly! I do enjoy her nicely paced prose and was entertained from the start.

Somehow the overall premise did sounds like Twilight + The Mortal Instruments + Xena LOL! It seems to have borrowed scenes from all over, compressed and refined to become The Relic Spell. I guess this is just me thinking too much whilst reading this with my mind actively envisioning this, imagining that. Hence the comparison started when a scene sounds familiar or a part created similarly like this or that.

All in all, it's YA through and through with much sorcery and bravery plus a little love. It does carry some weight of the current social stigma which is difficult to comprehend with their current self. So relevant and on point, hopefully it will indirectly guide the youngsters accordingly with topics like trying to fit in with the cool kids, proving themselves worthy to others and bullying. Also as there's reference to Orion's love for Max, I wonder if it'll developed in the next few books or so. I liked how this book ends, at least it's not a cliffhanger and leave me hanging much LOL! With so much going on, I wonder how book 2 would fare...

Saturday, 25 January 2020

Keong Hee Huat Chye!

A very Happy Chinese New Year to all who are celebrating this auspicious festive season!
May you prosper and bloom in the year of the Metal Rat! 
Happy Holidays!!! Huat ah!!!

Pssst! Apparently Pikachu is a mouse type Pokemon!

Thursday, 16 January 2020

MPOV: The Arrangement

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 4.08/5
Publishing: January 28, 2020
Authors: Sylvia Day, Minerva Spencer and Kristin Vayden
Genre: Romance, Regency, Fiction

Thanks to Netgalley and Kensington Books for this e-ARC in return for my honest review.

Just so you know, I had a hard time trying to read this on my Kobo Touch as the format size was so small! The fonts were so tiny and when I tried to zoom in, it was hard to scroll as the function was not user-friendly. In the end, luckily there's Adobe Digital Editions so I could read it on my Apple instead.

Anyway, this novel is a collection of 3 historical romance by 3 different authors. I've only read Sylvia Day's so I did expect some hardcore stuff. All in all, I didn't expect it to be a little over the top since it's historical romance. Well, being exposed to historical romance at a young age, I guess I'm kinda old fashion so a little susceptible to adapt to such new concepts LOL!
Mischief and the Marquess by Sylvia Day - Available for the first time since 2007! 
Justin, the Marquess of Fontaine, and Lady Sophie Milton-Riley, are completely ill-suited to one another. But they will have to prove it in order to end to their mothers' insistence that they should marry. Yet the more they attempt to demonstrate how wrong their union would be, the more surprisingly, irresistibly right things feel...
The first novella is Sylvia Day's Mischief and the Marquess. As usual, she writes pretty well, adapting to the historical aspect but not as fluently. The story itself was fine but the head-on crude sex does not jive which made it seemed a little over board. It just didn't suit the genre for me and it turned me off. If it's written as current day romance, it would definitely had been a good read for me! Some snippets to share...

The Duke's Treasure by Minerva Spencer - First time in print! 
Plain, prickly Josephine Loman has loved Beaumont Halliwell, the Fifth Duke of Wroxton, since the first time she saw him. But the most beautiful man she's ever met had eyes only for Jo's erstwhile friend, who betrayed Beau's trust by marrying his brother. Beau hasn't been home in years, but when his brother dies in an accident, he must marry to save the impoverished dukedom. And Jo is the overlooked heiress who will turn his world upside down...
The same goes for this second novella, Minerva Spencer's The Duke's Treasure. This was totally a modern take hence I totally forgot it's regency romance so it fared much better. I've not read Minerva Spencer's books so it was quite refreshing for me with the Duke supposedly more chauvinistic but became more humanly due to his new wife. Interestingly, it still reflects the historical aspect at a minimum so I still kept thinking it's modern day romance. Some snippets to share with interesting choice of words /  sentences...


The Inconvenient Countess by Kristin Vayden - First time in print! 
As the eldest in a poverty-stricken family of daughters, Miss Diana Katherine Lambson's only option is a marriage of convenience. Her only prospect is a rogue with a miserable reputation. Her only true desire: freedom. And that is exactly what Charles Brook, Earl of Barrington, is willing to offer, in return for the respectability their union will give him. He will even provide Diana with a contract. But does she dare entrust her future to a scoundrel? Does she dare not to?
This final novella actually hits home! Well written prose without overdoing the sex part and keeping it historically seducing! I actually enjoyed this one a lot with all the teasing and fun bantering! Kristin totally killed it with the right pace, right prose with the right amount of sex so appreciating the historical aspects of it all. I've enjoyed being in Diana's and Brook's company from the start to the end! A snippet which I loved... so seductively sweet...

Overall, it has the same plot where the Duke was forced to marry the unintended bride, eventually both fell in love and lived happily ever after. All has the same epilogue where the duchess is pregnant and the duke is happily in love LOL! So if you are looking for a light read, this is the one. I would have finished it sooner if not for my initial hiccup!

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

MPOV: Circe

My rating: 5/5
Goodreads rating: 4.28/5
First published: April 10, 2018
Author: Madeline Miller
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy Fiction, Historical Fiction

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

The above taken from Goodreads.

This book is about Circe, a goddess who has been in shadows all her life until she was banished to an island for revealing she has magic. In Aiaia, she's the queen, the witch, the ruler of her own destiny. This book tells the story of her life's journey, of her hardship, the torments she has to endure to survive and eventually writing her own destiny.

I've come across many rave reviews of this book but I assumed it's overrated. How wrong I was!!! From the first chapter, I was engulfed in a well written, well paced story. So beautifully written that I savour every single word and did not speed read even though I was anxious to know the ending! It may be slow to some but it was magically right for me! Though I've not read The Martian by Andy Weir, I have watched the movie and somehow Circe reminded me of that.

I was able to envision Circe from the day she was born, how she survived being ridiculed and abandoned, when she has to endure all those vital moments. So poignant yet relatable in every walks of life. I could so feel her hostility and her heartaches but yet, she's strong-willed, unwilling to bow down when she knows she's right. I truly loved her attitude in life. I never knew I would enjoy Greek mythology as much.

I applaud Madeline Miller for actually writing such a life journey, a sort of memoir for Circe. I have not read her other novel, The Song of Achilles but now I'm intrigued. She's able to tell Circe's point of view with such angst and I truly feel for her! Maybe it's the feminist side but I guess her being a teacher also did helped to be more accurate and more wordy LOL!
“But in a solitary life, there are rare moments when another soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation was he to me.”
“Circe, he says, it will be all right.
It is not the saying of an oracle or a prophet. ... He does not mean that it does not hurt. He does not mean that we are not frightened. Only that: we are here. This is what it means to swim in the tide, to walk the earth and feel it touch your feet. This is what is means to be alive.”
For all that she has to endure, Circe has remained as positive as she could. She did not give up easily and her pursuit in life just lived on without hesitation. She stood for what she believes in even though the hurdles were much higher. She truly dare to be different and preached for what she believes in. She's so amazing, definitely a woman of her own destiny.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

My 2019 Best NINE!!!

Here's a recap of my 2019 Best Nine for...

My business, Nyc Nat Nook:
My blog, Sholee's Sphere:
Last but not least, my craft, Susan Stitch Stuff:
I have decided to declutter my soc-med so still trying to adjust and decide which to keep and which the sunset. Until then, will still update it as and when. Of course, I'll definitely inform in advance if there's a change of plan. Will see how lah...

Friday, 3 January 2020

2019: My Year in Books

Every year, I'll share my year in books, tabulated by Goodreads. Goodreads is an app tracking almost everything about books which is a Godsend! This time around, I've set my 2019 Reading Challenge at 38 books which, unfortunately, is short by 4. So as not to over stress my reading pace, I've reduced it to 30 for this year.

Below are the screenshots of it:







In summary, my highest rated books on Goodreads are:-
5 stars:
Diane Chamberlain's Big Lies in a Small Town

4 stars:
1. Agatha Christie's The Murder at the Vicarage
2. Sun-Mi Hwang's The Dog Who Dared to Dream
3. Alan Paton's Cry, The Beloved Country
4. Anna Bradley's For the Sake of a Scottish Rake

So do share your Goodreads year in books if you are using the app and also your highest rated ones :-)

Thursday, 2 January 2020

TBNT Book Challenge 2020

To kick start the year 2020, I will attempt to complete this book challenge, created by Two Book Nerds Talking! It's a simple one, less hassle plus some contest included hence the temptation, I mean motivation LOL! Do give it a try if you haven't committed to any as yet...



For more details, you can check out their Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/twobooknerds/

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